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gala Syllabification: ga·la
Pronunciation: /ˈɡālə/

Definition of gala in English:


A social occasion with special entertainments or performances: [as modifier]: a black-tie gala that begins with a cocktail reception
More example sentences
  • A young virtuoso pianist from Sligo was the star of a gala concert performance held in Dublin on December 11.
  • The Great Northern Brass Arts Festival, which is in its fifth year, began with a five-hour concert, followed by an evening gala performance in front of a capacity audience.
  • The pressure was on a year in advance to come up with stellar costuming worthy of the star-studded gala performance at Wortham Theater Center.
fête, fair, festival, carnival, pageant, jubilee, jamboree, party, garden party, after-party, celebration;
festive, celebratory, merry, joyous, joyful;
diverting, entertaining, enjoyable, spectacular


Early 17th century (in the sense 'showy dress'): via Italian and Spanish from Old French gale 'rejoicing'.

  • gallant from Middle English:

    Gallant at one time could describe an attractive or fine-looking woman. Here is the poet John Lyly writing in 1579: ‘This gallant girl, more fair than fortunate, and yet more fortunate than faithful’. It was also once used to mean ‘excellent, splendid, or noble’, as in ‘A more gallant and beautiful armada never before quitted the shores of Spain’ (William H. Prescott, 1838). Gallant came into English in the Middle Ages in the sense ‘finely dressed’, from Old French galant ‘celebrating’, from gale ‘pleasure or rejoicing’, also the source of gala (early 17th century). The modern sense ‘politely attentive to women’ was adopted from French into English in the 17th century. Gallivant (early 19th century), meaning ‘to go from place to place in pursuit of pleasure’, may be a playful alteration of gallant.

Words that rhyme with gala

Carla, challah, Douala, Guatemala, Gujranwala, impala, kabbala, Kampala, koala, La Scala, Lingala, Mahler, Marsala, masala, nyala, parlour (US parlor), Sinhala, snarler, tala, tambala, Uppsala
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